Charlie Hebdo Attack Suspects Dead, Hostage Safe, French Officials Say – ABC News
The Charlie Hebdo attack suspects are dead and their hostage is safe, the City Hall of Dammatin confirmed to ABC News.
The dramatic development came after sustained gunfire and small explosions erupted at both hostage situations in France.
Meanwhile, there were at least four explosions and a barrage of gunfire at the kosher market in Paris and then police were seen going in. People then were seen coming out of the market, and ambulances and firetrucks drove towards the market, loaded people in and drove away.
Two simultaneous hostage-takings in France today are linked, with suspected gunmen in each situation connected through an earlier attempt to break a convicted terrorist out of jail, Paris’ public prosecutor told ABC News.
Amedi Coulibaly, 32, a suspect in a Thursday fatal shooting of a police officer in Paris’ Monrouge area, is believed to be involved with a hostage standoff at a kosher grocery, police said. Coulibaly was convicted for his involvement in an attempt to help a convicted terrorist escape custody, while Cherif Kouachi — a suspected gunman in Wednesday’s massacre at a French satirical newspaper office — was released.
The man they were accused of trying to free from prison was Smain Ali Belkacem, one of those behind the 1995 attack on the Paris transport system that killed eight people and wounded 120, according to the Paris public prosecutor.
Officials have identified Kouachi and his brother Said Kouachi as suspects in the attack that killed 12 people. The suspected gunmen are holed up in a printing company in a town northeast of Paris, taking one male employee hostage, said Audrey Taupenas, a spokeswoman for Dammartin-en-Goele City Hall.
Police have issued a wanted poster for Coulibaly and a female suspect, identified as Hayat Boumeddiene.
As helicopters and hundreds of security forces streamed to Dammartin-en-Goele — located about 20 miles northeast of Paris — hoping to detain the massacre suspects, the second hostage situation unfolded at the grocery, sending heavily armed SWAT teams to Porte de Vincennes in Paris.
French President Francois Hollande, speaking today at the interior ministry, said French authorities have foiled several plots to carry out terrorist attacks in France in past few months.
Two runways at Charles de Gaulle Airport were closed to arrivals today to avoid interfering in the standoff, an airport spokesman said.
Dammartin-en-Goele officials posted a message online instructing residents to shelter in place.
“If you live in the town stay in your home. Children in schools are in lockdown,” the statement reads.
About 900 people are trapped in a nearby high school.
“They say to us to stay in the high school and be calm, but we can’t because we are really scared,” teacher Marianne Genet said.
Two assailants went inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday and listed off the names of their targets before shooting them execution-style, Paris Deputy Mayor Patrick Klugman told ABC News on Wednesday. A third man was waiting outside the building, he said.
After the shooting, more than a thousand troops were deployed on the streets of France as part of the country’s heightened state of alert.
France’s president, speaking Wednesday, called the attack a “terrorist operation.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.